Scott's Weekly Greeting ...
Walking is good for the body and good for the soul.
A lot of folks are runners. I do not run ... unless I am being chased. And to be honest, outside of childhood games, I cannot recall a single instance of being chased. Certainly not as an adult. I do break my "no running" rule if I am chasing something blowing in the wind, or perhaps a runaway dog. I walk.
The experts say that one can derive most of the same health benefits from walking that you do from running. Years ago, I injured my back and one of the recommended daily exercises was walking. People in the hospital for surgical procedures are encouraged to walk as soon as it is safe to do so. Passengers on long flights should get up and walk periodically. As we have gotten increasingly sedentary in our lives, doctors have extolled the benefits of walking.
Walking improves blood flow and reduces stress. Walking makes your body feel better and it also helps your mind feel better. When I am writing my sermons, I get up and walk around several times to clear my head and think about what I want to say next and how best to communicate that point.
Walking encourages social interaction. When Renee and I walk our dogs in the evening, we greet the people we see along the way. We do not typically do that when we drive. Rolling down and shouting out the window often results in a quizzical stare or an unneighborly hand gesture. Walking slows things down and builds relationships. During our summer walks through Ocean Park, there were people that we greeted every day. We learned their names and visited ... from a safe distance.
Walking can also have a spiritual benefit. There are many that practice walking prayers. Walking through God's wonderful Creation helps us connect with God, but we do not have to venture outside to be in God's Presence. Our faith assures us that God is everywhere. There is no place in all the earth where we are not with God.
This week in worship, we will be walking. The centerpiece of the service will be a collaborative anthem performed by members of the First Parish Church choir and also members of the Warren Congregational Church in Westbrook. The piece will be the beautiful hymn, "Just a Closer Walk with Thee." It is a song of faith that has comforted the faithful for generations. The hymn is based upon two passages of scripture: "For we walk by faith, not by sight," (2 Corinthians 5:7) and, "Draw near to God and God will draw near to you." (James 4:8) The lyrics assure us that 'through this world of toils and snares' Jesus shares our burdens with us.
We are all well aware of the toils and snares of this world. In addition to those that make the evening news, each of us struggles with our own personal burdens. Preachers and teachers often refer to our faith journeys ... our walk with God. If you are carrying heavy burdens ... walk with God. If you creak and groan under the weight of your toils and snares ... give them to God in prayer. You are not alone on your walk. God is always with you.
Congregational ChurchUCC, SACO MAINE12 BEACH STREET | SACO, ME 04072